The Bar


It is a Saturday night. I am at Auxerre, an upscale bar in downtown Port Harcourt. I am sitting at the bar, with a glass of Ciroc nestling in my palms. I can see everything happening clearly enough although the bar is dimly lit. At the table closest to me, I see a man who, by the looks of it, is not yet thirty. He is decked in an all-white ensemble of white shirt, jean trousers, Nike boots and a face cap. On his left wrist is a silver-hued Rolex. He is talking animatedly to a young lady, black shirt and red skirt, with her hair neatly tied in a ponytail. She seems oddly disinterested but he does not seem to notice this, instead becoming more animated, as he gets further into the story he is telling.

There is a man, two tables behind. He makes a call and seems agitated by it. About twenty seconds after, he stares at the screen of his smart phone with a slightly morose expression. Perhaps he is expecting someone or he has been stood up. Or maybe it is something else.

There is a group of three, a lady and two guys. They seem to be having a great time, chatting over a shared bottle of Chardonnay. The lady glances in my direction and catches my eye briefly. Her eyes wear a wistful expression, a subtle but sad smile, as though she reads something in my eyes. She nods lightly at me and I nod back, smiling, in understanding of something which I do not understand. She returns to the conversation with the two men, pointedly gesturing at something in a book on the table.

Tekno’s ‘Pana’ begins playing lightly in the background. I look to the dais, in search of the Disk Jockey. I see him with one hand on the wheels of steel. He appears distracted by the well-rounded derriere of the waitress bent over, just before him, picking up a fallen packet of Serviettes. I wonder at once what thoughts are running through his head. The waitress straightens up and shoots a look at the DJ. It’s a flirtatious look. I think she knows. Maybe they are lovers.

I look at my watch. It’s 9:15 pm. Sally is fifteen minutes late. I sigh and dial her number. She answers at the second ring and pleads for five extra minutes to make the date, to which I accede. I replace the phone in its pouch, order for a refill and resume observing the occupants of the bar. There is nothing better to do. Maybe if I look long enough, I would see something interesting.

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